Supacat ATMP Mk IV


The Supacat ATMP is one of those interesting vehicles that just seems evergreen, so when I looked at the Springer I lamented the withdrawal of the ATMP, whatever the good reasons at the time.

The full story of Springer can be found here

To recap, the ATMP was withdrawn because of serviceability issues in Afghanistan an FOI response provided the full picture;

Springer vehicle

The MoD considered various options to fulfil the requirement for the role of the Springer vehicle.  A Quad Bike and trailer however was not considered at the time because the trailer’s maximum payload did not meet the MoD’s defined capability requirement.

Other options considered were various vehicle types from industry.  The following is a list of companies, and if applicable their fielded vehicles, that theMinistry of Defence (MoD) invited to ‘Express an Interest’ in fulfilling the requirement:

  • Roush Technologies Limited – Balter 2
  • Development Engineering and Enterprise Limited – WVL-C6-AS
  • Enhanced Protection Systems UK Limited – Tomcar
  • Supacat Limited – ATMP 2  (The ATMP 2 would have been based on the ATMP but it was never built)
  • John Deere Limited – Vehicle unknown
  • Yamaha Corporation
  • Honda Motor Company Limited
  • JC Bamford Excavators Limited

Of these Yamaha, Honda and JC Bamford Excavators declined the MoD’s offer.

I’m afraid I am unable to establish the precise model of the vehicle that John Deere fielded however I hope the list gives you an indication of the general types of vehicle that were considered.

The delivery of the Springer vehicle into Afghanistan started in July 2009 and ended with the last batch, consisting of 2 Springer vehicles, received inAfghanistanin July 2010.  Transportation of the Springer vehicles, to and from Afghanistan, was via land and sea.

Unfortunately, I am unable to provide you with an estimated disposal value for the Springer vehicle.  This is because, to date, the MoD has never sold any Springers and as a consequence we do not have price or value information available.

While researching answers for your supplementary questions I learnt that a total of 29 Springer vehicles were deployed to Afghanistan, and not 27 as I originally informed you.

All Terrain Mobility Platform (ATMP)

The ATMP vehicle came into service in December 1999 and deployed with 16 Air Assault Brigade. It was used for re-supply, casualty evacuation, radio rebroadcast and refuelling because it could carry a single NATO standard pallet, ammunition, anti-tank mines and other bulky or heavy stores. Originally 65 ATMPs were procured, and over the lifetime of the ATMP capability, additional vehicles were purchased but details on the final number are no longer held. The ATMP was deployed to Afghanistan, but was withdrawn from theatre and was declared out of service in November 2010.

As at 31 January 2012, the MoD has declared 147 ATMP vehicles for disposal and achieved a total sale value £442k (excluding VAT).

Reliability, availability and cost: …ATMP was underperforming in the hot and dry conditions of Afghanistan and was suffering from extreme reliability problems (less than 49% availability at best) . Since April 2008 over 500 major spares had been required to maintain the ATMP fleet and this has cost in excess of £124,000 for the spares alone. Transport of these spares, including whole vehicle engines and gearboxes, has added a significant burden to an already overburdened supply chain and the expenditure of maintaining this fleet is considered to be excessive. The LFLCP [Land Forces Load carrying Platform] capability is critical to support the current concept of operations and therefore the TECR [Theatre Equipment Capability Review] recommended that action was taken to improve ATMP availability; this could be through an environmental mitigation programme or fleet replacement with an alternative more reliable vehicle that meets the current theatre requirement. Subsequent investigation by SUV IPT [Specialist Utility Vehicle Integrated Project Team] has found that the ATMP cannot be enhanced with an environmental mitigation package. In fact, any modification of the platform would result in a complete redesign of the base vehicle which would equate to the procurement of a new system.

b. Obsolescence and manufacture time. Supacat were the design authority and sole manufacturer of the ATMP. Supacat has not manufactured ATMP since 2003. SUV IPT have been informed that it would take up to 24 months to reconfigure the old production line and manufacture new vehicles before they would be ready for operations. Secondly the major assemblies that were used in the current UK version of the ATMP fleet vehicle were no longer available as they do not meet EU regulations. Any new procurement of the ATMP would result in a new variant which would not have any automotive similarities with the current ATMP.”

A year after that post PaulG proposed the German Mungo air portable vehicle as an off the shelf replacement, click here

We of course know that Springer was a bit of a failure (to say the least)

Both PaulG and I concluded that the requirement is still there; a lightweight, high payload, high mobility ‘mule’ for air mobile forces and that this requirement could not be met by quad bikes.

So if not Mungo, what?

Step forward Supacat.

Supacat ATMP Mk IV
Supacat ATMP Mk IV

At the recent Land Forces 2014 exhibition in Australia, Supacat showed off their concept for a new and improved Supacat, the MkIV

Commenting on the updated design, Michael Halloran, MD of Supacat Pty Ltd, the Australian subsidiary of Supacat, said:

When we looked around the market, we found that there is nothing that combines the payload, mobility and robustness of the ATMP, so in developing this concept vehicle we decided to look at maintaining the fundamental strengths of the platform while updating the human interface and the automotive and communication systems.

So there you go, the replacement for the fantastically flexible and all round brilliant ATMP is in fact, another ATMP.

Dear Santa…


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17 Responses

  1. 1999? so what the heck were we blasting round the ‘shot in in’92. Plus I’m doubly double sure that my mate sent me a picture of him outside a newsagent on a fag run when he was doing a 7RHA CAPE tour in ’88!
    Still like the mungo, not as the germans use it, as troop carrier. but the pallet dispenser version is bob on Don’t need to send it frontline. Maybe the new (newer) supacat could have a similar drop system.

    Correct me if I’m wrong but didn’t we bin the supacat and then embarrassingly buy them back for the ’99 ops

  2. Spot on Paul, we had to buy them back of private collectors!

    Did yo ever get to use the flippit trailer with ATMP, pretty mifty idea I think and not as complex as the Mungo skip wagon lift

  3. Did the Fuel Cats go, with the rest?

    “The Fuel Cat, a variant of the Supacat, can refuel fixed and rotary wing aircraft. The Fuel Cat can load internally onboard a CH-47 Chinook helicopter. It carries 1,000 liters of fuel, which it can pump into an aircraft in environments where other refueling vehicles may encounter difficulty. The Fuel Cat can carry more fuel by towing a portable fuel container.”

  4. @Pete A, that’s correct which is why I would use it like they wanted to use the (crappy crap ultra crap) springer. Sticking 10 blokes in a tiny truck and doing long patrols/journeys is not the wisest of moves!

    @ACC, my optronics platoon had 1 generator per box body and 5 of the trucks had to keep the genny on 24/7 due to the sensitivity of the equipment, which meant they swallowed apporx 100 litres everyday. This meant we all had to trog over to the MT section to collect 4 jerrycans per man, proper man test with rifle and webbing! I asked if we could get one of the supacat fuel trucks and was politely told to f**k off by the QM!

    @TD I have seen the fork lifty type trailer, again I believe 7RHA used it for distributing ammo about.

  5. Re the 2nd hand price for Springer, I am sure I have seen them on the market at GBP 12,5000 a piece ?
    Some Polish company was also trying to sell them at Eurosatory earlier this year !

  6. I would really love to see how a forward bare-base for, say, 4 Apaches could be run when there is no airliftable kit? So fuel comes in as a sling load. Then you need another Chinook to fly in enough guys to carry the jerry cans… A bare base will hardly have a roll-mat runway when it is for helos?

    Wait! All the Extendas will be commandeered from the SF?

    All forces that are serious about mobility have included 120mm mortars for fire support: the marines (USMC, NL…), the German Gebirgsjaeger etc. What do you do with a Light Gun. Airdrop a Pinzgauer, separate from the gun. Bring half a Viking – again two sling loads to get one piece ready for ops.
    – other than HVMs on the back of a Landie, is there any kit that would actually help to economise on the helo round trips required (no wonder we are chronically short of them)

  7. The John Deere vehicle was probably a M-Gator variant – very common light hauler. Having said that what’s wrong with a flatbed Land Rover?

  8. “Peter, I wonder if the Mungo’s were used in Afghanistan were used in their intended role?

    Might explain the issues”

    It might. My first thoughts on seeing the Mungo were that its wheels were too small, its ground clearance too low and its suspension travel too limited. In a vehicle designed to give mobility to airborne forces who otherwise would have nothing these limitations may be acceptable but as a general service cargo or personnel hauler I’d say they weren’t.

    Well I have no idea what ten kitted up squaddies weigh compared to a standard NATO pallet load – but the reported issues seem to be with axles and suspensions breaking on rough terrain. That sounds pretty fundamental in an off-road vehicle – unless it’s an off-road vehicle designed not to go off-road. I see lots of those dropping the kids off at school in the morning . . . :-)

  9. Springers have great suspension but the egnitionn barrels are built in Mexico and the starter motors are very weak to.all the electrics are a bit crap if I’m honest.4ply cheapo tyres very also fitted ,they puncture very easily..
    I currently run 4 and it’s not easy,saying that I switched from supacats ,they were even worse with a ride that would shake yore fillings out of your head and awful reliability

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